Execution Alert: Take Action Now

Cantor and former prison chaplain Michael Zoosman, chanting Kol Nidre at a protest in front of the US Supreme Court at the time of the execution of John Hummel in Texas on June 30, 2021. Cantor Zoosman serves on the Advisory Board of Death Penalty Action and is the founder of L’Chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty

Texas has seven executions currently planned between Sept 8th and the end of the year. 

Statement by Rabbi Michael Lerner

State murders of those convicted of murder are especially disgusting when scheduled on one of the holiest days of the Jewish Year: Rosh Hashanah. Murdering someone for murdering someone else brings us back to the consciousness of primitive thinking.  

The Torah did not overcome that consciousness 2400 years ago so the ancient rabbis put forth more than 200 conditions under which one could implement the death penalty, among them: 

  • someone accused of murder had to have been warned in advance just as s/he was about to kill someone that doing so would violate Torah law and be punishable by death
  • the act of murder had to be testified by two witnesses. 

With these conditions, the Talmud reports that a Sanhedrin (the highest court which heard murder cases) was considered “a bloody court” if it sentenced one person to death in 70 years. 

In addition, there is an abundance of evidence that the death penalty is implemented in racially biased ways. 

–Rabbi Michael Lerner 
editor Tikkun.org
author most recently of Revolutionary Love

What We Can Do As Jews to Act Against the Death Penalty

We are called upon not only to pray, but to take tangible actions. Here are some suggestions from Abraham Bonowitz, Executive Director of Death Penalty Action and a co-administrator of L’Chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty. 

A Prayer for Righteousness at Rosh Hashanah

Study the issue using resources from Death Penalty Action 

Sign & share the petition to stop gas chambers as a form of execution in the United States.

Sign & share petitions in individual cases of scheduled executions

Sign and share the Jewish Faith Leader sign-on letter to Congress and President Biden

Join L’Chaim: Jews Against the Death Penalty Facebook Group

Donate to Death Penalty Action

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